Flight 93 National Memorial

The Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial is a monumental, 93-foot-tall musical instrument holding 40 wind chimes, representing the 40 passengers and crew members. Photo courtesy Brenda Torrey | U.S. National Park Service

My son, Jeff, and his adult son Alex visited the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, last week. They had never been there and I had not been there since it had become a park with designed walls – including a visitor center – offering memorials and information on that tragic crash, along with wonderful views of its now grass-covered site. That place where 40 passengers and crew gave their lives to save others on Sept. 11, 2001. Despite the improvements and many visitors there that day, it’s just as quiet now as when I visited a year after 9/11.

I flew often when I worked. Jeff, and his brother, Mike, still do in their jobs (at least before the pandemic). We have never worked in high rise buildings, such as those hit by other hijacked planes in New York with so many people in so many offices and stores, making it a bit harder for us to relate to that environment.

However, we know all too well what’s it’s like to wake in the morning and make our way to airports, check in, pass through security, wait in line and then board our planes. All very routine – stow carry-on, buckle up, open newspaper, magazine or book and wait for coffee. Most of us have experienced these things.

But not that day, as those flyers’ world and then their plane was literally turned upside down as control of their plane was taken by terrorists – willing to die and willing to take their lives. We can image the situation but not its devastating terror.

Looking out over green fields at the place where their plane was driven into the earth as they attacked the hijackers, Jeff and I felt as friends with our “fellow travelers,” fellow fathers and grandfathers, as we mourned again their terrible loss as others do in New York City or at the Pentagon.  

Flight 93 took no lives on the ground, its passengers and crew, given time and information from family, more than those on the other planes, made sure of that with their courage that terrible 9/11 day. And we forever thank them for it.

The site is an easy one-day trip, mostly by turnpikes.

Mel Maurer

Mel Maurer is a retired Manager of Administrative Quality and Distribution for the Boston Weatherhead Division of Dana Corporation. During his 43 years with Dana, He held management positions in Accounting, Information Technology and Administrative Quality and Dsitribution. Mr. Maurer’s civic duties when working included being a member of the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce serving as Chairman of the Government Relations Division and serving as host of the Chamber’s Public Affairs Roundtable. He was also member of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce - Government Affairs Committee and a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Public Affairs Committee. He also served as a member of the Williamson County Economic Development Showcase Committee, a member of the Tennessee Association Of Business Public Affairs Committee; a member of the Policy Board of Directors for INROADS/NASHVILLE INC. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Williamson County Heart Association. He wrote columns on government affairs for the Chamber Newsletter and the Nashville Multiple Sclerosis Association. He chaired the Williamson County Toys For Tots (T4T) Campaign and chaired the Government Relations Committee of the Middle Tennessee MS Society. In his retirement, he is a member of the Government Relations committee of the Buckeye Chapter of the MS Society and a 2007 enductee into the National MS Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame and was selected as one of the “Faces of Westlake” in 2007. He is past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, now its Historian, and past president of the Philosophical Club of Cleveland and a member of the Titanic Historic Society. He is the 2009 Charirman of Westlake’s Charter Review Committee. He also writes articles for various organizations and speaks on a variety of topics. He has had more than 500 “Letters to Editors” printed in a number of newspapers and magazines including: Time, Readers Digest, USA Today, The Plain Dealer, The Sun Press, The Nashville Tennessean, The New Republic and others. He is also a published poet. He has hosted over 50 hours of TV shows broadcast on on cable in Cleveland and other cities in Northeast Ohio and has appeared in two plays presented by the Civil War Roundtable and one at the Huntington Playhouse. Mr. Maurer received a Bachelor of Science degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his wife, Elaine, live in Westlake, Ohio. They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter. His interests include writing and speaking on community affairs, charitable causes, history, political issues and personal experiences.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021